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Opinion Editorials

Behold the Mega-Blog

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agent genius logoIt’s a credit to Benn that contributors here have free rein in terms of what they wish to discuss. That, of course, is a way of kissing up ahead of the larger point of this post.

I just don’t get it, folks. I don’t get the fascination and/or growth of the mega-blogs and I’m a contributor to one of them.

Last time I checked, the Bloodhound had 3,746 active contributors give or take a couple. Agent Genius similarly has grown. Ironically, Rain City Guide has remained somewhat stable over the last several months.

It’s not that I see anything wrong with such expansion – especially seeing as I was part of it. But I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand it. Perhaps contributing here will drive some traffic back to my blog – I’ve not seen it, but so be it. (I also see limited numbers coming from Bloodhound on the rare moments I make the final list for the Odysseus medal.)

I have determined this is my place to rant (aside from today’s questioning of NAR after reading Benn’s earlier post) and my home blog is more sedate, though not strictly local in any way, shape or form. So in that the dual blogs serve a purpose.

But still … what’s the point? If you have a very successful blog of your own, why jump into the conglomerate blogs (barring the need to vent or write with a different voice)? You probably don’t need more readers and you likely will not gain business being one of a dozen (or two or three.) You’re not promoting your own branding (theme one of e-Pro, which, naturally, is violated by the RealTown blogging platform. But that’s another story.)

Greg has said in the past that real estate will not be his last career. Watching the path the Bloodhound has taken, that next career seems to be coming on more quickly than may have been anticipated. Add a cadre of quality writers under one umbrella. Brand the blog. Then sell the secrets to success … wait, the seminar’s free. Still …

Maybe this is the wave of the future. Then again, a year ago I thought Active Rain was the wave of the future only to discover it was wobbling on its water skies passing over a tank holding a tiger shark.

And maybe that’s why I stay. Because I may not be as smart as I think. Might be worth hedging my bets and sticking around on the larger blog just in case.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I just came becasue you are here and becasue Lani promised me a unicorn. I have not gotten the unicorn but I never give up.

  2. Jeff Turner

    November 21, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Jonathon… here’s where I think the problem lies right now. It’s easy to conclude that all of these different RE.net blogs are like different parties, with different guests. Our hope is that if we go to all of them, we’ll meet new and different people, and expand our network and influence. But for the most part, that’s not true. This is really just one party, and not a particularly large one at that. When we move from one blog to the next, we’re not actually moving from one party to another, we’re just moving to a different conversation at the same party.

    But I have a feeling you know this already. 🙂

  3. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Jeff is dead on. RE.net is a social network of it’s own. Far more viable than any group on Facebook. In many ways, it’s a free form model of Active Rain.

    The problem with only posting on your one, personal blog is that not everything you may want to say will be of value to your real clients. I maintain two separate blogs for this reason. Lenderama is my business blog, Blog Fiesta is my social networking blog.

  4. Rick Marnon

    November 21, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    I used active rain for about a day and a half, and then I realized that it is just a bunch of agents writing on one anothers blogs. They do not help you to get better seo rankings, so what purpose do they serve?

  5. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Todd – I have more than one blog for the same reason. Most of my readers don’t know they are reading a blog, they are looking for information and I need to make sure it is there.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    November 21, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Excellent points …

    I’m not that bright. That’s the heart of it all. So sometimes the WIIFM doesn’t jump out at me. A lot of my thoughts are directed at my own ignorance. (No sarcasm here.)

    Agent Genius has been great as a secondary voice. I haven’t ranted (much) on the regular blog since. I’m also not someone who’s ever worried about “voice.” My voice is my voice and I don’t necessarily have one for the public and one for the rest. If I can put together one coherent thought I’m pretty happy.

    This is a great collection of folks and I’m damn glad to be here … even if Teresa doesn’t end up with her unicorn.

  7. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    >”I just came because you are here and becasue Lani promised me a unicorn”

    Here you go T

    https://photo.mariah.com/teresasunicorn.jpg

  8. Jonathan Dalton

    November 21, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    That is so wrong on so many levels …

  9. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Todd just made me cry

  10. Benn Rosales

    November 21, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Phallic comes to mind.

  11. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    It’s a weinercorn you sickos. :p

  12. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    This is for Todd: https://tinyurl.com/2mdp6o
    My apology to Jonathan and to Tobey for highjacking this post.

  13. Tim

    November 21, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Keep in mind that on the RealTownBlogs platform, you CAN 301 to a branded domain with a custom template– no violation there.

  14. Mariana

    November 21, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    I like this platform because I respect ALL of the people here, and I can post what I cannot post on my own blog. I love Jeff’s analogy about the party. Makes a lot of sense.

  15. Chris Johnson

    November 22, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I’ve started contributing to blownmortgage.com, which is gonna be a mega blog. I’ve gotten traffic back to me, and in a week had a conversion. My website looks like crap currently (ah, the law of diminishing returns). But, people clicked because of the idea–I do conventional mortgages in 10 (calendar) days 100% of the time. One idea, easy to get.

    I’d think the more groovy and specific your niche the more likely people will click, and the more likely people will convert. I don’t know what a valid niche is; if I were a realtor, I’d probably blog all over the country to create a referral network and market myself as the guy that knows all the tech Savvy Realtor, and then offer 10-15% referral fees.

    Or something. Anyway, I like RE net blogs because the humanity and authenticity of the people is pretty high; there are people that admit it’s disingenuous for the NAR to be telling people that “now is a great time to buy…”

  16. Athol Kay

    November 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I have next to no clue about any of it either.

  17. Teri Lussier

    November 25, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    1) What Jeff said
    2) Parties are fun (Jeff left that part out).
    3) I find that on my blog it’s like home: Shoes off, feet up, in my jammies; whereas on another blog I’m a guest. I try to be on my best behavior, elevate the conversation (okay not always successfully, I know!), and contribute in a different way. I can’t explain it other than jammies and bare feet compared to party clothes and heels- two looks, same person, and it’s not just another voice, it’s another place.
    4) There is a synergy that happens in a group blog. It’s real and it’s an important part of a conversation. The blog takes on life of it’s own…
    OTOH, Maybe none of this makes sense… 😀

  18. Kelley Koehler

    November 26, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    See? This is why we need a comment feed. I missed out on weinercorngate.

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Opinion Editorials

Easy ways to help an unhappy customer

(EDITORIAL) We’ve all had to deal with an unhappy client or two, and maybe some situations didn’t play out too well. Here are some simple tips that will help.

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unhappy client

Who here hasn’t had a client get aggravated for what seems like no good reason?

(Raise your hand!)

Who here hasn’t had that awkward “I hear what you’re saying, but…” conversation?

(More hands!)

Whether you’re providing marketing work, strategic planning services, graphic design ideas, or basic business advice, you’re going to run into the occasional client who Just. Is. Not. Here. For. It. And it can be so hard to help that unhappy client get back to a place where you can all come together to get the job done.

(Hands! Hands! Hands!)

Especially in this day and age of angry emoji reaction clicks, dealing with confrontational feedback can require a new level of diplomacy and tact. You’ve got an unhappy client who doesn’t have the ability to communicate their “why” to you, so instead, they go nuclear and your inbox is suddenly filled with the kind of unhappy vitriol you’re more used to seeing in your Facebook feed.

How do you handle it?

Because… you can actually handle it.

First and foremost, understand where the negative reaction is coming from. They’ve asked you for help with their cherished project. Maybe they wouldn’t be happy with anyone’s work. Maybe they can’t quite communicate what they want. Regardless of where the sticking point is, understand that the sticking point is (a) not your fault and (b) not going to be acknowledged by them.

So then, the second step… remove yourself from the criticism. Even if they make it personal, remove yourself from the situation. Look at it in terms of the work. The client wants X. You feel you have given them X, but they see it as Y. Can you see it from their perspective? Because if you can, you are way more than halfway there. Where are they coming from?

If this is an external review, on Google or such, just ignore it and move on. It’s done. You can’t argue it. But if it’s feedback you’re getting from a current client and your project is still in play… seriously, take a deep breath and give it a harder look. It might feel personal. But is it?

The best assumption to make is that there is something else going on. If you can keep your cool and work with your unhappy client to determine what’s making them uncomfortable, in a non-confrontational way, and to get them to an acceptable delivery — you’ve won. Because you’re continuing to provide them the service they’ve come to you for.

So take a look at the situation, and figure out the best response.

1. Is the argument clear?
Don’t waste your time trying to establish whether you’re right or they’re wrong. Instead, look at framing it in terms of what the client is trying to accomplish. Ask them to give you specific examples of what they hope to achieve. Allow them to tell you what they feel isn’t good… in fact, encourage them to tell you why they’re unhappy with what you’ve given them. All of this will help frame what they’re looking for and what you need to give them in round two.

2. Is their feedback relevant?
Well, yeah. There are times when you know that your client knows nothing. But they feel the need to demonstrate that They Know What They Are Doing.

Let them.

Just let them tell you, and let it go.

And… keep searching for that nugget of truth in what they’re saying. Their feedback may seem ridiculous. But what’s at the heart of it? Look for that. Look at this negative reaction as a signpost for what they’re truly after.

3. IS IT WORTH DEBATING?
This fits right in with number 2. They feel passionately that you need two spaces after every period. Is this something you really need to argue? CHOOSE. YOUR. BATTLES.

If your client really wants to engage on an issue … two spaces, or the use of a particular phrase … then let them say their piece. Then say your piece. But giving them room for an out. And once again, think about it from their perspective.

Maybe it’s someone who didn’t spend all their time in their first post-college job debating the niceties of the Oxford comma. Does it ultimately matter to the overall success of the project? If it does… go to the mat. Show them, with respect, why it’s important. But if it’s just a point of pride for you, the provider? Can you let it go?

I can’t sometimes. So I get it if you can’t. But still, it’s a good point to keep in mind. A good question to ask yourself, as a provider of a service. Which sword do you fall on… and why?

Clearly, you shouldn’t just roll over because a client has turned nasty. But neither should you turn every unhappy client response into your personal cause du jour. When you encounter negative, hostile client reactions, take a moment. Try to see it from their point of view. At the very least, the shift in perspective will help you handle their concerns. And at best, you’ll re-frame the discussion in a way that gives you both a handle on how to move forward.

You might learn from the exchange. Or maybe you’re just right, dammit. But you still have to think about what’s worth getting worked up over.

Finally, don’t let it bring you down. If it’s serious enough that you have to part ways over their reaction, help them do so amicably. Point them in the direction of someone you think might be able to accommodate their ideas. Stay positive for them, and for yourself. Then chalk it up to experience, and take the lessons on to the next client.

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Opinion Editorials

This website is like Pinterest for WFH desk setups

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) If you’ve been working from home at the same, unchanged desk setup, it may be time for an upgrade. My Desk Tour has the inspiration you need.

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Man browsing desk setups on My Desk Tour

Whether you’re sitting, standing, or reclining your way through the pandemic, you’re most likely doing it from home these days. You’re also probably contending with an uninspired desk configuration hastily cobbled together in 2020, which—while understandable—might be bringing you down. Fortunately, there’s an easy, personable solution to spark your creativity: My Desk Tour.

My Desk Tour is a small website started by Jonathan Cai. On this site, you will find pictures of unique and highly customized desk setups; these desk configurations range from being optimized for gamers to coders to audiophiles, so there’s arguably something for everyone—even if you’re just swinging by to drool for a bit.

Cai also implements a feature in which site users can tag products seen in desk photos with direct links to Amazon so you don’t have to poke around the Internet for an hour in search of an obscure mouse pad. This is something Cai initially encountered on Reddit and, after receiving guidance from various subreddits on the issue of which mouse to purchase, he found the inspiration to create My Desk Tour.

The service itself is pretty light—the landing page consists of a few desk setup photos and a rotating carousel of featured configurations—but it has great potential to grow into a desk-focused social experience of sorts.

It’s also a great place to drop in on if you’re missing the extra level of adoration for your desk space that a truly great setup invokes. Since most people who have been working from home since the spring didn’t receive a ton of advance notice, it’s reasonable to assume that the majority of folks have resigned themselves to a boring or inefficient desk configuration. With a bit of inspiration from My Desk Tour, that can change overnight.

Of course, some of the desk options featured on the site are a bit over the top. One configuration boasts dual ultra-wide monitors stacked atop each other, and another shows off a monitor flanked by additional vertical monitors—presumably for the sake of coding. If you’re scrambling to stay employed, such a setup might be egregious.

If you’re just looking for a new way to orient your workspace for the next few months, though, My Desk Tour is worth a visit.

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Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional work game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.

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work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your work goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard, and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

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